Saturday, January 13, 2018

MackinVIA: My Go To Resource

MackinVIA has quickly become my favorite library resource.  So you may be wondering, exactly what is MackinVIA?  MackinVIA is a management system for all of your electronic resources.  So, what has made MackinVIA my go to resource?

#1 - The Ability to add all of your digital items to one location

Mackin makes it easy to add of your resources to VIA.  Any electronic items purchased through Mackin are automatically added to your MackinVIA account.  Items that are not purchased through Mackin can also be added to your VIA simply be going to Add new resource under the MackinVIA Admin portion of the site.

You may also have databases that you would like to add to your MackinVIA.  If you click on Authentication  Info Mackin provides a letter that you can send to specific vendors requesting that their resource will be made available through MackinVIA without any additional usernames or passwords.  Mackin even provides you with the names and emails to most of the commonly used vendors.

#2 - Singular Sign On

Another nice feature of MackinVIA is the ability to have singular sign on for all your resources.  Prior to using MackinVIA, I worked in a school with many different databases.  As many times as I offered teachers and students the usernames and passwords, they always seemed to get lost in the shuffle or caused great confusion.  MackinVIA makes it very easy to sign on with one username and password for each of your students.  There is no need for any additional usernames/passwords, and all of your resources are in one place.  When, deciding on student usernames and passwords, Mackin gives you the option of creating your own or working with their team to authenticate through Google or Microsoft.  When we first added MackinVIA to our school, we decided to have students authenticate through Google.  This made it very simple when logging on, because students didn't have to learn a new username and password.  The other benefit is students are automatically deleted when they leave our school and added when they enter our school.

#3 - Notetaking, Highlighting, and Bookmarking Feature

MackinVIA has some really nice reference features.  This is a great feature when you are using the resources for reference purposes.  When using electronic books, students can highlight important text in the color of their choice, take notes, and bookmark important pages.  All of this is saved in the Notebook page of the student's MackinVIA page.

mackinvia highlighting.jpeg

#4 - Bibliographic Citations Feature Through Easybib

Writing a bibliography can be difficult for some students.  MackinVIA makes it super easy to create citations through their Cite It Feature.  All of the electronic books available through Mackin are able to be cited through EasyBib, which can be downloaded directly to Google Drive or Microsoft Outlook.  

mackinvia citations.jpg

#5 - Ability to Download all notes, highlights, and bibliographic citations into Google Drive or Outlook

As I mentioned earlier, MackinVIA allows patrons to export all of their notes to their Google Drive or through Microsoft.  Students each have an virtual backpack.  When students click on the backpack they can send any of their notes to Google Drive or Microsoft.  Their notes and highlights will automatically be added to their Google Drive or Microsoft account.  This allows students to easily printout their notes and citations or add them to specific places.

#6 - Built in Merriam Webster Dictionary

MackinVIA has a built in dictionary.  This is a fantastic tool for students who are unfamiliar with the pronunciation of a word, or meaning.  This can be activated by highlighting a word and clicking next to it and choosing the dictionary icon.

#7 - Free E-Reader App

Of course, you may also want to add electronic books for reading pleasure.  MackinVIA is available in the Android, Apple, Chrome, Microsoft and Kindle App store.  Once the MackinVIA App is added to the designated device students can login with their username and password.  Here is a video for using MackinVIA with a mobile device.

#8 - Ability to Create Groups

Since Mackin primarily serves school, and especially school libraries, much of the MackinVIA site is created with school librarians in mind.  As school librarians, it is our job to curate resources for teachers.  MackinVIA makes it easy to group your resources by topic.  This is something I use a lot.  MackinVIA makes it easy to create all the resources for students on their topic in one specific area.  The group you create will also automatically create a URL, which you can share with your teachers and students.

Creating a group is easy.  Simply go to the admin feature of MackinVIA, next go to Classroom and Groups, and choose create a new group.  You will then be prompted to add new resources.  MackinVIA will allow you to choose to add any and all of the resources that are part of your MackinVIA.  You can also add brand new resources.

#9 - Easy to Use

MackinVIA is very easy to use.  The interface is designed to be clean and simple.  The fact that the resources are organized by categories allow students to find exactly what they are looking for.  Patrons are able to preview a resource in its entirety (not just a sample).  Once a book is opened, patrons can easily and quickly navigate through a book using the arrows.  Patrons are also given the option to check their item out.  Once the item is checked out, it is available in the the patron's virtual backpack.


#10 - It's Free

It's hard to believe, but MackinVIA offers all of these wonderful options, and it's completely free.  No need to purchase anything!  Still have questions?  Go to for more information on this fantastic resource.


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